Grounding of Bulk Carrier age of over 25 years, during Severe S.W. monsoon months.

Casualty Circular No. 6 of 2009


 NO:11-NT(93)/2008                                                                           Dated: 23.06.2009


Subject: Grounding of Bulk Carrier age of over 25 years, during Severe S.W. monsoon months.



A Bulk carrier, Flag - foreign, built in 1974, arrived at Indian port on 30.7.2008 at 0600 hrs with cargo of 67219 MT of steaming coal from port in South East Asia. The vessel was drawing draft of Ford-13.6 Met Aft - 14.4 Met. The vessel was required to lighten approx. 25000 MT of cargo at anchorage to achieve the permissible draft for berthing at the port. While approaching with height of tide of 0.3 Mtrs. at 0603 hrs.(HW expected at 1259 hrs around 0.84 Met and trying to locate a safe place to anchor with deep draft condition ran aground at around 0708 hrs. on 30.7.2008. Vessel was 2 NM away from her intended anchorage position. Immediately Master requested 2 tugs for assistance from the port. The attempt to refloat the vessel with the help ships main engine and tugs failed. Thereafter number of attempts for moving away from the grounded position proved futile. Vessel grounded second time around 1400 hrs on 30.7.2008. Soon after, the moderate weather and to heavy swell/wind force Beaufort Scale 5 further drifted the vessel northerly direction. Master used port anchor without much success. Vessel dragged and dredged her anchor on many occasions. Vessel used starboard anchor to one shackle in water at about 1500 hrs. This grounding resulted in flooding of Fore Peak Tank to14.3Mtrs.depth (same as depth of water out side). While heaving the starboard anchor, D shackle gave way from pin and anchor was lost. Finally with number of shifting, frequent use of Tugs, intermittent discharging of cargo, the vessel was refloated and safely anchored with port anchor with damage stability within permissible limits. The vessel finally entered port on 11.8.2008 after attaining the required draft. 




  • Echo sounding Equipment was in operational since July, 2008.
  • Navigational Charts for the port approach and anchorage area were not updated.
  • Magnetic Compass was unreliable due to irregular deviation.
  • Passage plan was not made from berth to berth and it did not indicate the draft restriction and available depth limits at port anchorage.
  • Due diligence was not exercised by the Bridge Team during anchorage operations bearing in mind the non-operational state of Echo sounding operations.
  • The under keel clearance factor was not taken into account specially, effect of rolling/pitching and not corrected approach charts.
  • Assistance of port signal station for safe anchorage was not sought.
  • Fore Peak Tank was extensively damaged due to frequent grounding



  • Human error and navigational error committed by the Master and navigating officer through structured on board training by the company.
  • Assistance of 2nd in command i.e. Chief officer can provide support to the Master and prevent such occurrence.
  • Passage plan framing by the officer of the watch should be comprehensive conforming to SOLAS 74 chapter V and STCW convention requirements.
  • Navigational equipments should be maintained at all the time, if not functional corrective/preventive actions should be taken in advance.
  • Nautical charts and publications should be up to date at all times.


(Capt. Deepak Kapoor)
Nautical Surveyor-cum-DDG (Tech)

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